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Special Report With Bret Baier

News/Business. Bret Baier. The latest news from inside the Beltway. New.

program was likely cut short due to a recording issue












U.s. 8, North Korea 7, Clinton 6, Elkhart 6, New York 6, Washington 5, Bill Clinton 5, North Koreans 5, Taylor 4, Indiana 3, California 3, Sonia Sotomayor 2, Robert Gibbs 2, Sotomayor 2, Steve Brown 2, United States 2, Nextel 2, Fox News 2, Kim Jong 2, Shannon 2,
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  FOX News    Special Report With Bret Baier    News/Business. Bret Baier. The  
   latest news from inside the Beltway. New.  

    August 4, 2009
    6:17 - 7:00pm EDT  

but many people may find that they get better coverage or at least coverage that gives them more for healthcare dollars than they spend outside of their employers. >> another cam many linked from drudge, here is then state senator obama in 2003. >> i happen to be a pro-- a proponent of single-payer healthcare. >> the white house responded with a more current sound byte from the president from last month. >> fur employer is providing good health insurance, terrific. we're not going to mess with t >> some health policy analysts say that may not be the case if congress passes healthcare reform as it stands now. >> the legislation creates economic incentives that will guarantee an expansion of government coverage and a retraction of private coverage over time. >> the white house maintains that a government option would increase competition in the health insurance industry and bring down costs, but critics fear the government will be able to undercut private plans
and eventually put them out of business. in washington, molly hennenberg, fox news. >> we'll take you to the town with the biggest rise in unemployment in the country, and it is still waiting for its stimulus money. and what the government is considering to address a growing hazard on the roads.
bret: a new york prosecutor says a long island mother who killed herself and 70thers in a wrong-way crash was drunk and using marijuana. one popular magazine has found that texting while driving is more dangerous than being drunk. catherine herridge reports that what to do about it has become a front burner issue. >> the transportation secretary got right to the
point. >> if it were up to me, i would ban drivers from texting immediately. >> whether it's train drivers texting, blamed for the death of 25 in a california cash last year, or those behind the wheel checking e-mail, a summit will bring together members of congress, transportation safety experts and academics to tackle the problem. >> the bottom line is we need to put an end to unsafe cell phone use, typing on blackberries, and other activities that require drivers to take their eyes off the road and their focus away from driving. >> a recent study by virginia tech's tans pore tation institute concludes that just dialing a cell phone increases the risk of a accident sixfold. also, truckers who text are 23 times more likely to have an accident than those drivers who don't. due to the growing body of evidence, the transportation secretary still expects some opposition. >> there was opposition to
setting a standard for drunk driving, too, and there was a lot of opposition from certain segments of our society, so we will invite the folks that may have a different point of view. hopefully we can persuade them. >> a successful anti-texting campaign according to analysts must combine education along with enforcement that has real teeth. at least six states and the district of columbia have banned handheld cell phone use but the law is not keeping pace with the gadgets. >> is understanding the technology and tieing to anticipate what will come with technology, because we didn't think about text messaging five years ago and certainly didn't think about blackberries. it was just cell phones that. was relatively easier to understand. >> one bill recently introduced in the senate would punish states who don't ban texting by pulling 25% of highway funding. analysts say states that have bans that are successful have stiff fines. catherine herridge, fox news.
bret: lawmakers in iran say they are deciding if the three who were hiking will be charged. they are josh what fattal and sarah shourd and shane bauer. the commander in iraq says u.s. troops need to stay the course. general odierno disagrees with the colonel's memo advocating an early withdrawl. army advisor timothy reece wrote that iraqi forces good enough now to defend the government against a weaken the insurgency. in afghanistan, taliban insurge ents fired rockets into kabul today. one man and a child were reported hurt but no one was killed. a taliban spokesman said the attack was to show that militants are in control. afghanistan is preparing for a presidential election in two weeks. why is one world leader who has been openly kit cal of the u.s. receiving this nation's highest civilian award?
and guess how many member of congress being investigated for alleged ethics violations? the answer, when we come back.
- oh, come on. - enough! you get half. and you get half. ( chirp ) team three, boathouse? ( chirp ) oh yeah. his and hers. - ( crowd gasps ) - ( chirp ) van gogh? ( chirp ) even steven. - ( chirp ) mansion? - ( chirp ) good to go. ( grunts ) timber! ( chirp ) boss? what do we do with the shih-tzu? - ( chirp ) joint custody. - dog: phew... announcer: get work done now. communicate in less
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towards associates, tax evasion and receiving preferential mortgage rates. citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington says 13 of the accused are democrats and four are republicans. those four are don young of alaska, jerry lewis and gary miller of california and pennsylvania's tim murphy. the democratic side features senators roland burris of illinois, kent conrad of north dakota and chris dodd of connecticut and new jersey's robert menendez. house members being investigated include john murtha of pennsylvania, linda and loretta safn chez of california and charles rangel of new york. the politico reports that rangel has now spent more than $1 million in his defense. the u.s. commission on civil rights is demanding an explanation from the justice department about its dismissal of a civil complaint against three members of the new black panther party accused of intimidating voters last november in philadelphia. commission chairman scwerld
reynolds tells the washington times, quote, if you swap out the new black panther party in this case for neonazi groups or the chu klu klux klan you likely would have a different outcome. the only charge that stood was a weapons complaint against the leader. the justice department says the evidence did not support the case. the times reported last month one person appointed by obama helped scuttle efforts by lawyers to pursue legal action. justice department officials insisted that report was wrong. and one name on the list of this year's recipients of the presidential medal of freedom is causing quite a stir. former irish president and u.n. high commissioner for human rights, mary robinson is one of the 16 winners of this nation's highest civilian honor, but the anti-defamation league says that the choice is ill-advised and that robinson, quote, has been an enemy of israel, becoming a lead
cheerleader for the palestinian narrative." they point to her participation in the world conference against racism, looking at the west and overlooking arab nations. both the u.s. and israel boycotted that event. robert gibbs says, quote, there are statements that obviously she has made that the pez doesn't agree with, and that's probably true for a number of people that the president is recognizing. the white house says president obama will announce a manufacturing grant to elkhart, indiana when he visits the area wednesday. elkhart has the fastest rising unemployment in the nation. correspondent steve brown reports that, so far, stimulus money that's was promised hasn't shown up yet. >> >> it's construction season in elkhart county, indiana. >> normally we're busy. we just don't have the work we normally have. >> there would be more work, says jeff taylor, the elkhart county transportation manager, if there wasn't all this
paperwork to fill out. because the transportation stimulus dollars are funneled through the states, taylor's office have both state and federal applications to do. >> i honestly believe president obama means to get this money spent quickly. >> that was the president's sales pitch when he visited in february r america needs jobs now. >> so we can't a afford to wait. >> especially here where unemployment is almost 17%, largely due to a collapse in the r.v. industry which called elkhart county home. taylor thought stimulus money put to work repairing local roads and bridges would put more local folks to work. instead -- >> we're finding ourselves inundated with forms and paperwork and just a whole lot of numbers and things that just not getting anybody back to work. >> taylor has two of his staff spending most of their time dealing with stimulus paperwork, and after five months of it, not a dime has arrived. >> we haven't seen penny number one yet. we're still in the very
initial stages or maybe midway through filling out forms and paperwork and just trying to get roads approved. >> one stimulus repaving job was along this rural cemetery, an additional 3-page federal form was required to attest no graves would be paved over. adding to taylor's frustration, he has been told indiana's transportation stimulus money is already just about gone. >> they told us now that we're going to have to get in line, that the money is almost used up, if not all used up, and that if there any bids that come in under the engineer's estimate and some money is left, then they would consider funding our projects. >> but if that happens, it will happen likely next year. for the folks in elkhart county, who are looking for a job, that's an awfully long ways down the road. in walker, this is steve brown, fox news. bret: the government's top forecasting energy agency said climate change legislation
passed by the house will result in significant cost increases. the u.s. energy information administration says the average family will spend $142 more per year for energy by 2020 and $583 more by 2030. it says gasoline prices will go up by 23 cents per gallon by 2020 and 36 cents by 2030. the senate has begun debate on the nomination of sonia sotomayor to the supreme court. correspondent shannon bream reports that while there are strong feelings on both sides, the outcome is not really in doubt. good evening, shannon. >> hi, bret. you're right. the full senate debate has finally gotten underway. senate majority leader harry reid kicked things off this morning continuing to portray sonia sotomayor as the ideal candidate. she developed a 17-year record as a mod at mainstream judge. -- as a moderate mainstream judge. when the judge testified before the senate judiciary
committee for four grueling days, she respectfully and thoroughly answered questions from both sides of the aisle, democrats and republicans. >> but republicans say the answers sotomayor gave don't match the record she has left behind in speeches and writings, that suggest she believes judges can and should be influenced by personal factors outside the law, so even though both democrats and republicans ak nomed today that the vetting on the senate judiciary committee was fair, there is still six republicans who have indicated they will cross party lines to vote yes while 28 will vote no. there are still six unknowns on the republicans' side of the aisle and today senate minority leader mitch mcconnell renewed concerns that sotomayor will govern based on feelings rather than law. >> empathy is only good enough if you're lucky enough to be the person or the group that the judge in question has empathy for. in those cases, it is the judge, not the law which determines the outcome.
>> and mcconnell went on to warn that when a judge and not the law determines the outcome, our country is headed down a dangerous path, but so far, not a single democrat seems to have been persuaded. bret. bret: shannon bream live on the hill. bill clinton goes to north korea and wins the release of two american journalists. the fox all-stars give us their take on that trip, next. havin' a cuppa tea. gecko vo: takes lots of sweat to become that big. gecko vo: 'course, geckos don't literally sweat... it's just not our thing... gecko vo: ...but i do work hard, mind you. gecko vo: first rule of "hard work equals success." gecko vo: that's why geico is consistently rated excellent or better in terms of financial strength. gecko vo: second rule: "don't steal a coworker's egg salad, 'specially if it's marked "the gecko." come on people.
>> obviously bringing a former president to north korea is a lifeline of legitimacy for kim jong il's regime an other rogue states are watching this carefully, i think to our detriment. bret: well, maybe so, but we expect in the next two to three hours former president clinton's plane to leave north korea with laura ling and euna lee, expected to leave with the former president on this scheduled flight. the president -- former
president meeting with president kim jung il in north korea today. here is how the north koreans described it -- "clinton expressed apology for the hostile acts committed by the two american journalists for illegally entering the country. the meetings had candid discussions on the pending discussions between north korea and the u.s. in a sincere atmosphere and reached a consensus of views on seeking a negotiated settlement of them." well, maybe not, but let's bring in our panel about this move and about today's events. steve hayes, senior writer for the weekly standard. mara liasson, national public radio, and syndicated columnist, charles krauthammer. charles, what about this, if, in fact, the two journalists get on the plane in the next couple of hours, success. >> the return of hostages in exchange for stuff. we will learn about that stuff. it is clear that this is wired in advance. there probably wasn't an
apology. after of all, the secretary of state, the president's wife, had said openly earlier that we were sorry about the incident and asking for amnesty, which was implying the legitimacy of the arrest and the trial. we have already issued an apology. secondly, it is obvious that he was going there on the part of the obama administration, despite denials. this is the one time in history that the official news station of the north koreans told the truth, but it does happen once every 50 years, but thirdly, there was obviously a quid pro quo. the first of it, we saw because we had kim jong il, who has had a stroke, seem wobbly and unsteady, and you can understand in a dictatorship like his how that begins the rumors of suck succession, so by standing up in the photos that we just saw, obviously engaged with clinton, it looks like he is back in charge. that helps him personally. secondly, by getting a higher
level envoy like the former president of the united states, it does help the north koreans in their legitimacy, and it is a demonstration of direct negotiations with the united states, which is what they have always demanded. they are getting it. they got a lot. they have proudly gotten stuff that we haven't heard about and we may never hear about, aid in food and oil. all of that stuff will happen quietly in the future, but it was a hostage ransom. no question at all. bret: mara, the white house insisted that the former president was not carrying a message for president obama, despite what the north koreans said in their release that, in fact, he was carrying a message from president obama, but there is no one in washington who believes that this was not coordinated with the national security council and the the secretary of state, his wife. >> is would be unthinkable that you would send bill clinton over there without knowing he would come back with the women. that would be a disaster of epic proportions. however, i think it is still
not cheer exactly what they got other than the ability to right that statement and to sit down with bill clinton and to get the kind of legitimacy that just the visit itself conveys. we don't know what else they're going to get. one thing that the u.s. might have gotten out of this. they got a lot of information. bill clinton actually sat down with kim jong il and can provide information about how he seemed, his health and his physical situation. i think that, you know, relations between north korea and the united states are at an impasse. i can't imagine that this will be the beginning of direct one-on-one talks. i want to wait and see exactly what transpired between them. bret: this came a couple of weeks after north korea called secretary of state clinton a schoolgirl and pensioner of markets. >> we know she has a thick skin. >> it is hard to be a schoolgirl and pensioner at the same time.
maybe in that part of the world it occurs but i have never seen it here. bret: mixed message. steve. >> we have to pause and note the statement that the north koreans' statement is probably more accurate than the white house statement. robert gibbs put out a statement this morning saying that president clinton was there on a solely private mish shon. that is false. i think we can say that is not true. we will not learn the details of how well coordinated this was in advance. charles is half right. this was definitely a quid pro quo, but i'm not sure that we will learn what else the north koreans have gotten. in my view, they have gotten everything he wanted to get. in the latter two years of the bush administration, all they wanted most was bilateral face-to-face meetings. they could do it with a high profile official, then they would do it with a high-profile official. they got them with lower level officials with the bush administration. this is legitimacy. john bolton is right. this is a lifeline to a regime that is a terrorist regime, that has proliferated nuclear
technology to a terror sponsoring state in syria, and brutalizes its own people, and there bill clinton is, in effect, begging to get these journalists back. bret: there is a report that the journalists were told to contact their families and tell them "give us former president clinton and we'll let you go." we'll see if that turns out to be true. charles, what about the negotiating with terrorists or terrorist-supporting states? >> it's always humiliating, but in the end you have to do it, and it's been done by the reagan administration, by the bush administration, father and son, and clinton, but it's not a triumph on our part by any means. we have had hostages in iran, and we quietly released a bunch of killers, iranians caught in iraq, and we released them months later, and again, they want to hide what the exchange is about. that's why we will won't learn about the further ransom until a lot later.
bret: iran, do you think they are looking at this, with three americans just crossing the border from rir rack, that might be charges of spying, according to iran, do you think they are pushing for former president clinton, too? >> i don't think that's what they want. north korea is a strange and inscutible country, and maybe what they really wanted, as steve suggests, is that kind of visit. i think iran is a lot more complex. iran's government is much more unstable, much more turmoil there. i don't think they would be satisfied with just a visit from bill clinton. bret: we'll see. politicians are getting more than they bargained for at these town hall meetings dealing with healthcare reform. the panel tells us what is happening, next. what's nice about the iphone, is if you run into a friend and you want to share a photo with a flick, there's an app for that. if you want to share contact info with a bump,
there's an app for that. or if you just want to share some down time, well, there's an app for that too, because there's an app for just about anything. only on the iphone.
>> what i see is a bureaucratic nightmare, senator. medicaid is broke. medicare is broke. social security is broke. and you want us to believe that a government that can't even run a cash for clunkers program is going to un1/7 of our -- is going to run 1/7 of our u.s. economy. no, sir. no. >> there is some members of congress experiencing anger at the town hall meetings. do you think it is manufactureed? >> yes, i think it is, some of it. there are groups today, conservatives for patients' rights that have bragged about organizing and manufacturing that anger. bret: that was from the white house podium. the democratic national committee put out a statement about the town hall meetings and how rowdy they're getting. these mobs are bussed in by well-funded highly organized
groups run by republican operatives desperately trying to stop the agenda for change the pez was elected to bring to washington. this type of anger and discord did not serve republicans well in 2008. it is bound to backfire again. " we're back with the panel. steve. >> this is the democrats going back to campaign mode. it worked for them in the campaign. it painted republicans concerned about the president and sometimes said stupid things in town halls as extremists and painted them as a broad-brush. the media was complicit in that. we are seeing the same thing today. the perfect example is the new york times coverage of this today, in today's paper. the new york times had a piece that focused almost exclusively on the political machinations of conservative groups and republican operatives that got people out to these things. when during the iraq war debates, the iraq war protests did you see the new york times or mainstream outlets, nbc did the same thing. when did you see them focus on how the protestors got there? they department. they simply carried the
message of the protestors. i think it is going to backfire, and i think there is a reason that media outlets like the new york times are losing market share. >> i think that there is anger out there, real anger, particularly at the public option, which is one part, and a part that might not survive of the healthcare reform effort, but i also think there is a risk that if the people who go to these town hall meetings, instead of asking questions, and i thought that woman ask add legitimate question, especially cash for clunkers is like a mini katrina here. it's not good to start a program and not be able to execute it. however, if they're just screaming and shutting down town hall meetings and not letting anybody speak, that will look bad, and people coming to the town hall meetings will be frustrated because they can't get what they came for. bret: it could be that people are worked up about this possibility. >> there is no doubt they are. bret: and perhaps a phrase that the single-payer stuff that is talked about, that some lawmakers are ropen about getting to a single-payer
system -- >> i think the biggest piece of this healthcare reform that is in the biggest jeopardy is the public option. there is not a single liberal democrat in congress today who will lose their seat if there is not a public option in the final package, but there are many moderate democrats who might lose their seats if there is a public option in the final package that. is where the politics of this are. i think in the end, there won't be the medicare-style public options that so many people fear will be government healthcare, and you know, that liberal democrats want. that's going to have to go. >> charles. >> there is a certain irony in an station denouncing ordinary americans who get together to exexpress what they believe, and to confront authority, when that administration is led by a man who began his career as a community organizer whose job, as i understand it, is to take ordinary americans to get them together to express what they believe, and express demands against the authorities, so
it's unbelievably hypocritical, and of course as we just heard, this only happens when you have a conservative protest. it is called a mob if is a liberal protest, it is called a grassroots expressing themselves. remember, just a rear ago under the bush administration, dissent was the highest form of patriotism. today it is a kind of organized anger. it is a facsimile of anger. it is unpatriotic. it's whatever. look, there is a genuine revolt against the idea of remaking a system when over 80% of americans have health insurance. five of six of those are happy with their healthcare, and four of five are happy with their health insurance. you have an administration arrogantly deciding it is going to tear it all up, start all over and people are have your priced that there are protests? and say that it had to be manufactured? of course it is spontaneous.
people go together on a bus, that's entirely legitimate, and it ought to be encouraged. bret: president bush was asked about cindy sheehan outside his ranch in texas and she had a small group, not a large group, a rather small group and he was asked numerous times about it and he said it's a great country that people can protest and speak out. is the white house making the wrong political move by responding this way, mara? >> yeah, i think they are. to let these guys fall on their own weight. if they are going to be out of line and screaming and yelling and not let other people get their questions asked at a town hall meeting that's not to say that people who come and express their feelings doing something wrong. >> we will see more when people realize that robert gibbs today said that the president wasn't going to read the bill. bret: that's it for the spanel. stay tuned. .
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( chirp ) team three, boathouse? ( chirp ) oh yeah. his and hers. - ( crowd gasps ) - ( chirp ) van gogh? ( chirp ) even steven. - ( chirp ) mansion? - ( chirp ) good to go. ( grunts ) timber! ( chirp ) boss? what do we do with the shih-tzu? - ( chirp ) joint custody. - dog: phew... announcer: get work done now. communicate in less than a second with nextel direct connect. only on the now network. deaf, hard of hearing and people with speech disabilities access
bret: finally tonight, we've seen how the d.n.c. is charging that republicans are organizing these raucous turnouts at town hall meetings across the country. but now apparently there's a nationwide effort to organize very special cheers at baseball games. >> one thing you can do without going too far is going to a baseball game. while you're there you should find someone who is falling asleep and do this. [laughter] that's pretty organized. the only place you'll get the whole story. thanks f